A report of a student possessing a weapon forced both Montclair High School and Renaissance Middle School into emergency lockdown procedures just before Thanksgiving.
Montclair police identified students at the high school who appeared to be involved in the incident, but did not believe there was still a threat as no weapon was recovered.
With both schools in close proximity to Montclair State University, the lockdowns had students at the university on edge.
Some university students question their safety on campus in the event of an emergency.
Joanne Lynn, a junior psychology major, is aware that these situations could occur at any time and worries after hearing about similar events on the news.
“To be honest, I am worried ever since I saw the news about that Chicago student who got strangled and killed in her car on campus,” Lynn said. “The lockdown happened close to campus which is concerning.”
Public schools conduct safety drills that teach students how to protect themselves if a dangerous situation arises.
According to Captain Kieran Barrett of the Montclair State Police Department (PD), if a lockdown were to ever take place on Montclair State’s campus, notifications would be sent out immediately to students and staff via text messages, emails, website updates and public service announcements.
“The message would detail to shelter in place, evacuate or other needed actions,” Barrett said. “The University Police has the ability to remotely lock down many residential and academic facilities that would prohibit access while officers would obviously be on sites as well.”
The University PD would also work with local agencies to assist during any major incident. Barrett describes how communication is the first step in how Montclair State handles a lockdown.
“The lockdown procedures will be specific to a specific threat or incident, but is comprehensive to include proper communications, safety, resources needed and available response protocols with our local, county and federal partners,” Barrett said. “In sum, we train regularly in each of these areas, provide training for staff and any student group, and ensure we are ready for any lockdown or a shelter-in-place situation.”
Some Montclair State students always feel safe because the police station is located on the campus.
Donia Bayoumy, a senior business management major, is one of those students.
“I feel there is no need for drills because I already feel safe on our campus since there is a police station right when you enter the main entrance to the school,” Bayoumy said.